Help effected sectors

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration has rolled out its Special Assistance Scheme for COVID Mortalities (SASCM) to help out families affected by the coronavirus in the union territory. The scheme was formally rolled out by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha formally on Wednesday by handing over the grant of scholarship and pension certificates to the children and the members of the families affected due to COVID-19. Sinha asserted that his administration was committed to support children who lost their parents in this pandemic and will all necessary steps for their well-being and education, so they can have a bright future. For handholding of the affected families, a special cell has been constituted in Social Welfare department to track and facilitate benefits under existing government sponsored welfare schemes which the family may be eligible for, he said, adding the administration will reach out to every affected family with financial assistance if they are willing to start their own business or other venture for self-employment, besides imparting training and providing market linkages to them. The scheme has been appreciated by one and all, however, there is a general feeling among the masses that providing Rs. 1000 to the family of a Covid victim monthly is not going to help the effected family much. The government should therefore look for the avenues wherefrom it can generate funds to help these families in a better was.

That said, the pandemic, like other parts of the country, has broken the backbone of UT’s administration. Be it small time businesses, tourism related businesses, transport sector or other sectors, people have suffered a lot. While one would appreciate Special Assistance Scheme for COVID Mortalities, the administration needs to have a holistic view of the situation and pitch in to help these sections of the society to reestablish them. The other day, the High Court directed the release and distribution of funds to lawyers whose businesses suffered due to pandemic. Likewise, the UT administration should evolve a policy to help other sections of the society who equally have suffered due to pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. Small shop owners, hoteliers, houseboat owners, shikara pullers, pony wallas, transporters – every section has suffered and every section should get the same treatment when it comes to relief and rehabilitation. Pandemic has come as a massive disaster and it needs a massive response. While the UT administration should be appreciated for its handling the Covid crisis and launching massive vaccination drives, it should not shut its eyes to the economic fall-out of the pandemic and should do whatever it can to help the effected sections of the society. The administration can also rope in banks and convince them to provide soft loans to the people effected economically. People need hand-holding and the UT administration should be prepared for that.

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